This chapter explains the process of osmosis in detail in both a descriptive and a quantitative context. Gradients in the activity of water provide a framework for describing all aspects of water movement and volume regulation in animals. The significance of permeability coefficients and reflection coefficients is explained, and their use in calculations is demonstrated in biologically relevant examples. The concept of osmotic pressure is examined, and simple physical models are described as a means of explaining the influence of both hydraulic and osmotic pressure in biological systems. The reader is introduced to the calculations used to estimate osmotic flux.
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